Jarrett Davis is an independent social researcher and consultant specializing in gender, exploitation, and violence. Over the past six years, his work has focused on developing a better understanding of the vulnerabilities of people groups that are often overlooked in research, policy, and social development initiatives. As a part of this, he has led a variety of studies with up! International, Love146, Terre Des Hommes, and other key organizations, focusing on sexual violence against males and LGBTQ persons throughout the Philippines, Cambodia, and Thailand. Davis completed his graduate studies in intercultural communication in the Philippines, where his research focused on social identity and identity development among marginalized people groups on the outskirts of Metro-Manila. He is currently based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where he conducts research and consults on a variety of social research projects across the region.
Glenn Miles has spent most of his career in Cambodia focused on the rights of children and vulnerable adults in Asia. Miles possesses a Ph.D. from the University of Wales in childhood studies that focused on Cambodian children’s experiences and understandings of violence, including sexual abuse and trafficking, which was used as part of the United Nations Study on violence against children (2005). He has developed a range of trainings on child development and protection, including the www.good-touch-bad-touch-asia.org, www.asianyouthagainstporn.org flip-charts, and www.celebratingchildren training.info that was rolled out in nine countries in Asia and Africa. Glenn is currently Lecturer in child public health at the University of Swansea in Wales, UK. His research concerns focus on understanding the opinions of under-represented and sexually exploited communities including boys, men, and transgender people, and he has researched in Cambodia, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka. He continues to be an advisor for NGOs in Cambodia, Thailand, and the UK.
While the vulnerability of women and girls continues to be the subject of research and concern among social service providers, few attempts have been made to understand the vulnerabilities and lived experiences of transgender persons in the sex industry. Among the studies that have been done, most have focused on sexual health and their likelihood to contract or spread HIV/AIDS, often ignoring other potential vulnerabilities. This study aims to provide a broad baseline of data on the perspectives and experiences of transgendered persons in the sex trade in Phnom Penh, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of their needs, and vulnerabilities, including their trajectory into sex work and potential alternatives. In addition, this study aims to aid the development of programming and social services that meet their needs holistically, looking beyond gender expression and social identity to address often overlooked needs and vulnerabilities. This study notes the respondent’s common personal feelings of self-blame, shame, and guilt, and discusses a perceived fatalism observed within the social identity of transgender persons in the Cambodian sex trade, and the impact this may have on their perception of alternative employment, future options, and vulnerability to violence. The majority of respondents, or 74%, indicate sexual harassment, and 40% cite physical assault within the past 12 months, as well as more than half of respondents (55%) who cite being forced to have sex against their wishes. In addition, respondents describe diverse and overlapping forms of stigma and discrimination including: loss of employment (39%) and loss or denial of housing (20%), denial of education (12%) and denial of basic health services (10%) as a result of being transgender. Over half of those citing stigma and discrimination and more than one-third of those citing physical assault, cite police as the perpetrators of the violence. This study notes the respondent’s common personal feelings of self-blame, shame, and guilt, and discusses a perceived fatalism observed within the social identity of transgender persons in the Cambodian sex trade, and the impact this may have on their perception of alternative employment, future options, and vulnerability to violence.
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Davis, Jarrett D. and Miles, Glenn
""They Chase Us Like Dogs": Exploring the Vulnerabilities of "Ladyboys" in the Cambodian Sex Trade,"
Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence:
2, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/vol3/iss2/1
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